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Labour to announce plans to abolish House of Lords and replace it with a 300-member fully elected second chamber

Picture 6 Tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph splashes on the news that Justice Secretary Jack Straw is about to announce plans to replace the House of Lords with a 300-member fully elected second chamber. The paper reports:

"Ministers are ready to announce their plans, which follow years of fruitless cross-party discussions and several votes in the House of Commons, in a bid to wrong-foot the Tories with polling day less than two months away. Labour's plan is to provoke elements inside the Conservative Party to object to the reforms – which would allow it to paint David Cameron as wedded to old ideas of privilege."

"Under the government's proposals, members of the new chamber would be able to be subject to a US-style "recall ballot" which would disqualify them for incompetence. The plans would see all members of the new-look assembly being directly elected – ending the system of party patronage- with polling under some form of proportional representation system taking place at the same time as general elections. One third of the new chamber would be elected on each occasion – with members serving three terms, up to 15 years, once elected in a similar system to the one in use to choose members of the US Senate."

Read the full story here.

This strikes me as last-ditch unprincipled politicking which amounts to constitutional vandalism of the worst  New Labour kind.

Jonathan Isaby